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Russia seizes airport near Kyiv as Ukraine capital girds for assault

Kyiv, February 25: Russian missiles pounded Kyiv on Friday, families cowered in shelters and authorities told residents to prepare Molotov cocktails to defend Ukraine’s capital from an assault that the mayor said had already begun with saboteurs in the city.

Moscow claimed to have captured the Hostomel airfield northwest of the capital, a vital staging post for a planned assault on Kyiv, which has been fought over since the first hours of the war. This could not immediately be confirmed and the Ukrainian authorities reported heavy fighting there.

“The city has gone into a defensive phase. Shots and explosions are ringing out in some neighbourhoods. Saboteurs have already entered Kyiv,” said Kyiv’s mayor, former world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitchko. “The enemy wants to put the capital on its knees and destroy us.”

Air raid sirens wailed over the capital of three million people, where some residents sheltered in underground metro stations, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion that has shocked the world.

Ukrainian officials said a Russian aircraft had been shot down and crashed into a building in Kyiv overnight, setting it ablaze and injuring eight people.

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